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Food miles: Time for a re-think?


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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to test the efficacy of the concept of food miles that has proved so popular with the public as a means of assessing the sustainability of produce. Design/methodology/approach This paper uses data from a UK major food importer and retailer to correlate carbon emissions from transport, and transport‐related storage, with food miles by creating farm‐specific mode‐weighted emission factors. Findings The correlation is found to be poor for a wide range of products and locations and it is clear that the mode of transport is as important as the distance, with sourcing from parts of the Mediterranean resulting in emissions greater than those from the Americas. Practical implications It is concluded that it is difficult to justify the use of food miles when attempting to influence purchasing behaviour. Because of this result, processes and tools have been developed that relay information on true transport‐related carbon emissions to customers and bulk purchasers that allow them to make informed decisions. Originality/value This paper questions the value of using the concept of food miles as a driving force for changing purchasing behaviour by either the customer or the purchasing department of a retailer.
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Coley, D. A., Howard, M. and Winter, M. (2011) Food miles: time
for a re-think? British Food Journal, 113 (7). pp. 919-934. ISSN
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Dr David Coley, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Energy and the Environment, School of Physics,
University of Exeter.
David has more than twenty years experience, in both the private and public sectors, of the thermal
modelling of buildings and adaptation to climate change. He is a member of various national committees
covering natural ventilation, the design of schools and the indoor environment. He has worked for central
government on various aspects of the Building Regulations and has been a reviewer for the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He has been directly involved in the design of over 100
buildings often within a commercial framework. He specialises in the measurement and simulation of
physical parameters, such as temperature and indoor air quality within buildings and the use of renewable
energy within the built environment. He is the author of two books (one on optimisation (World
Scientific, 1999) and one on energy and climate change (Wiley, 2008)) and of over 150 publications and
reports. Amongst his current projects, he is PI of the £500k EPSRC funded PROMETHEUS project on
resilience to climate change in the buildings sector.
Mark Howard, Energy & Sustainability Coordinator, Riverford Organic Vegetables in Devon and is
an Honorary Research Assistant at the Centre for Rural Policy Research, University of Exeter.
Mark graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2005 with a degree in Engineering. He then
worked as a KTP Associate at Riverford on a two year project in collaboration with the University of
Exeter. The project investigated the carbon footprint of the business in order to guide sustainability policy
with a view to the future low carbon economy. As well as measuring the direct carbon footprint caused by
use of fuel and electricity on site, a significant amount of work focused on carbon embedded in products
and services both upstream and downstream from the business. This work included tailored research into
the impacts of glasshouse tomato production, packaging materials used and food miles at both national
and international levels.
Professor Michael Winter OBE, Director of the Centre for Rural Policy Research, Department of
Politics, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Exeter.
Michael has over thirty years experience of rural and environmental social science research. He has
conducted many research projects the ESRC, Defra and government agencies. He is a Commissioner for
the Commission for Rural Communities and a member of Defra’s Science Advisory Council. He has
written several books and many reports and peer reviewed papers. His most book is an edited volume,
What is Land for? The Food, Fuel and Climate Change Debate, to be published by Earthscan in 2009.
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David Coleya*, Mark Howardb, and Michael Winterb
a Centre for Energy and the Environment, University of Exeter, Physics Building, Stocker Road,
Exeter EX4 4QL UK
b Centre for Rural Policy Research, Department of Politics, University of Exeter,
Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter EX4 4RJ UK
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 (0)1392 264144
Email addresses: (David Coley). (Mark Howard), (Michael Winter).
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Food miles: time for a re-think? [1]
The purpose of this paper is to test the efficacy of the concept of food miles which has proved so popular
with the public as a means of assessing the sustainability of produce.
We use data from a UK major food importer and retailer to correlate carbon emissions from transport, and
transport-related storage, with food miles by creating farm-specific mode-weighted emission factors.
The correlation is found to be poor for a wide range of products and locations and it is clear that the mode
of transport is as important as the distance, with sourcing from parts of the Mediterranean resulting in
emissions greater than those from the Americas.
Practical implications
It is concluded that it is difficult to justify the use of food miles when attempting to influence purchasing
behaviour. Because of this result, processes and tools have been developed that relay information on true
transport-related carbon emissions to customers and bulk purchasers that allow them to make informed
Food miles; carbon emissions; agro-food sustainability.
Paper classification: Research paper
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1. Introduction
Numerous tools have been brought to bear to help study the problems of sustainable agriculture, the
chosen method often primarily depending on the way sustainability is viewed and the background of the
investigator (Leach, 1976; Cormack and Metcalfe, 2000; Carlsson-Kanyama, 2003; Constanza et al.,
1997; Pretty et al., 2002; Rees, 2003; Lewis, 1997; Bailey, 1999). As the environmental impacts of global
agro-food systems have been exposed (Conway and Pretty, 1991; Uphoff, 2002), the concepts of ‘local
food’ and ‘food miles’ were promoted as powerful polemical tools in policy discourses built around
sustainable agriculture and alternative food systems (Lang and Heasman, 2004). Both are appealing to
public opinion in their apparent simplicity of application and have demonstrated the fluidity to be used in
different contexts as the alternative food debate has progressed and changed. There has been a strong
tendency to assume that local food is a solution to the problem of food miles. Local food both pre-dates
food miles as a concept and, as a consequence, to some extent, helps to configure the conceptualisation of
food miles. Originally the environmental impact of food miles was broadly conceptualised (SAFE
Alliance 1994; Raven and Lang 1995; Subak 1999). The reduction of food miles was seen as an aspect of
making more explicit the links between particular foods and particular natures, a re-territorialisation or re-
spatialisation of food production which begins to reverse the aspatialities which are, or were, an intrinsic
part of a globalised food order (Winter 2005). This was based on a growing realization that the properties
of food are ‘natural’ and that the heterogeneity of edaphic conditions gives rise to varied natures
represented in varied foods and their distinctive provenance. To reduce food miles implied the need for
food systems grounded in local ecologies and responsive to consumer demands for quality food (Murdoch
et al 2000), hence the growing literature on the benefits of a more localised food supply system (Winter,
2003; Sage, 2003; Morris and Buller, 2003; Cowell and Parkinson, 2003).
More recently however, food miles have been linked much more explicitly, and in some cases solely, to
carbon accounting and the climate change debate (Jones, 2001; Pirog, 2001; Smith and Smith, 1997; Lal
et al., 2004). In some ways this has served to radically shift the food miles argument away from
sustainable agriculture production systems per se to food distribution and retailing and, in particular, the
use of carbon in transport. In their influential report to Defra on the validity of the concept, AEA
Technology (2005) largely focus on CO2 emissions as the key indicator of sustainability, and operates
with a correspondingly narrow conception of environmental sustainability and virtually no sense of social
and economic sustainability at all. AEA provides a series of case studies on food miles which focus on
energy and carbon emissions, for example comparing tomatoes grown in the UK to those imported from
Spain, with no attempt to place this within a wider conceptualisation of sustainability. Defra’s (2006)
Food Industry Sustainability Strategy takes a somewhat broader approach but still gives considerable
salience to the role of transport in carbon emissions in marked contrast to the breadth of its earlier
Farming and Food Strategy (Defra 2002). Alongside the concern at the narrowing of the sustainability
agenda brought about by the focus on food miles is an equally important concern at the crude nature of
the calculations used to assess carbon emissions in most studies hitherto. AEA’s tomato case study is
illustrative. Basically it amounts to a balancing out of the energy used in production (less in Spain,
because of the climate, than in Britain) against the extra energy used in the transport to Britain. Such a
simplistic approach masks the very real differences between the contrasting production and distribution
In this paper we question the value of using the concept of food miles as a driving force for changing
purchasing behaviour by either the customer or the purchasing department of a retailer. The first part of
the analysis makes a comparison between food miles as traditionally applied and a method based on
carbon emissions, not just distance. Two ways of influencing behaviour are then demonstrated. One
attempts to influence the customer by informing them of the carbon emissions of alternative products in
an attempt to make them switch to a more sustainable alternative when making an on-line purchasing
decision (e.g. a vegetable box low in imported fruit items against one high in such items). The other
influences the actions of bulk purchasers within a retailer by giving them information on the carbon
emissions of various alternatives (e.g. tomatoes from France rather than Spain). Given the interest in food
miles, organic production, localism and carbon emissions from energy use, the research is highly topical
(Coley, Howard and Winter, 2008; Seyfang, 2006; Illbery and Maye, 2005; Wetherell, Tregear and
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Allinson, 2003; Hinrichs, 2003; Rigby and Caceres, 2001; Morgan and Murdoch, 2000; Tait and Morris,
As already indicated, the question of sustainability in food production and distribution is obviously far
wider that that of emissions from fossil fuel use, and includes questions of water pollution, rural
economics, landscape amenity and a host of others (Bollman and Bryden, 1997), and, as Table 1 shows,
the external costs of agriculture are not minor. However, by restricting the analysis it is easier to address
in a quantitative manner one of the questions of most interest to the public, and one in which, through
their purchasing decisions, they have the ability to effect change.
Table 1. The negative externalities of UK agriculture (year 2000). For comparison the UK’s GDP in 2005 was around £1.2 T.
(Adapted from Pretty, 2005.)
Source of adverse effects
Actual costs from current agriculture
(£ M yr-1)
Pesticides in water
Nitrate, phosphate, soil and
Cryptosporidium in water
Eutrophication of surface water
Monitoring of water systems and advice
Methane, nitrous oxide, ammonia
emissions to atmosphere
Direct and indirect carbon dioxide
emissions to atmosphere
OV-site soils erosion and organic matter
losses from soils
Losses of biodiversity and landscape
Adverse effects to human health from
Adverse effects to human health from
micro-organisms and BSE
2. Background
The advent of mobile refrigeration allows the easy global transport of fresh produce without spoiling and
so makes a broader selection of items available: from fresh Kenyan beans to New Zealand apples stored
and shipped when the local season has ended. As shown in a recent Defra study on the public
understanding of sustainable food, seasonality is now a concept lost on many consumers who have come
to expect all produce to be available at any time of year regardless of the UK’s climate (Owen and Prince,
Inevitably there is an environmental cost associated with the long distance sourcing of these items.
Transport and refrigeration rely on fossil fuels to power them, resulting in the emission of various gasses
which have a detrimental effect on the environment (Figure 1). Received (public) wisdom states that this
impact varies approximately in direct proportion with the distance from source to consumer. The work
discussed here shows that although this might be true for single mode transport of a product, this is rarely
the case in the real world where many different modes are used in the supply chain.
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Figure 1. CO2 emissions generated by different modes of freight transport. (AEA Technology, 2005).
Our work focuses solely on contributions to climate change measured in terms of the most important
anthropogenic greenhouse gascarbon dioxide (CO2). It uses the database of purchases of the UK’s
largest vegetable box supplier to estimate the correlation between distance travelled by product to total
carbon emissions from farm gate to box-packing warehouse.
Of the 18.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions generated as a result of food transport for the UK in 2006
(Defra, 2007) 47% were due to international transport of produce to the UK (see Figure 2). Clearly the
CO2 emissions associated with the international sourcing of produce are significant and therefore any
sourcing policy should be based on sound principles, rather than long distance bad, short distance good,
unless this can be proved to sensibly capture the essence of the problem and a reasonable correlation can
be found between emissions and total transport from farm gate to consumer. In the following we measure
this correlation for a large number of items and source countries using real data from a major supplier
including the location of farms and accounting for transport and storage emissions in the county where
the produce is grown.
Overseas rail
Overseas LGV
Figure 2. Mode and location for UK food transport [Defra, 2007].
Previous work has questioned the concept of ‘food miles’ (AEAT, 2005; Coley, Howard and Winter,
2008). The results of our work show similarly that, for mixed mode international transport, this
questioning is valid for a wide range of produce and locations.
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3. Method
There are essentially three variables that drive CO2 emissions from freight, these are the distance
travelled, the mass transported and the mode used. Emission factors derived as part of Defra funded
research have been used in this study, they are given as gCO2 emitted per tonne-kilometre for a given
mode. A tonne-kilometre being a measure of both mass of produce, and the distance the food has been
transported. Details of the derivation of these factors can be found in AEAT, 2005, but in essence we
mode modemodesource XEFE
where EFmode signifies the CO2 emissions factor (in gCO2/tkm) for a given mode of transport, Xmode
signifies the distance travelled by the individual mode of transport and Esource signifies the CO2 source and
transport mode weighted emissions for the particular source (or farm) in question in terms of gCO2/kg
produce. Typically Equation (1) can be written as:
 
 
   
. (2)
The great difference (a factor of 40-100) between the emission factors for air transport and shipping
(Figure 1) has led many to sensibly conclude that air transport should be avoided. What has been given
less public exposure is that shipping has a much lower emission factor than HGV-based transport (by a
factor of 6.4 for deep sea and 1.9 for short sea). This leads to the possibility that sourcing from more
distant locations that allow the use of water-borne transport might result in lower carbon emissions than
sourcing from farms more closely located to the retailer.
The retailer’s database of purchases for (2006) was used to estimate the carbon emissions from the
regular sourcing of items from 56 locations in 26 different countries. Routes were mapped from the farm
gate to the whole-seller, then to the packing house in the UK and broken down into distance travelled by
each transport mode and Equations (1) and (2) applied. From this, CO2 emissions generated by importing
a kg of fruits or vegetables by that route were calculated. The results are presented in Figure 3.
For sea transport, emission factors were based on the Defra Guidelines for Company Reporting on
Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Defra 2001), supplemented by other sources. The Defra guidelines were
specifically aimed at companies wishing to assess their CO2 emissions and give an estimate of CO2
emissions per tonne of freight for several different ship types: small and large ro-ro, liquid bulk and dry
bulk. However, container ships, which were not included in the Defra guidelines, also carry a high
proportion of food freight. AEAT derived emission factors for these container ships based on the average
of a ro-ro and a bulk transport ship (AEAT, 2005) and then made assumptions (see below) for the
percentage of food freight carried by each type of ship, for both short sea and deep sea transport, and used
these to derive weighted emission factors for short sea and deep sea freight.
The mix of ship types was derived from an analysis on what fractions of imported and exported foodstuff
is dry bulk (i.e. cereals, oil seeds, animal feed and waste) both in Europe and the rest of the world (based
on HM Customs and Excise statistics). It was assumed by AEAT that all dry bulk was carried by dry bulk
ships. For short sea transport they assumed that one third travelled in large dry bulk ships and two thirds
in small ships. For deep sea transport they assumed 75% in large and 25% in small ships. Of the
remainder, it was assumed that for short sea transport, 75% travelled by ro-ro and 25% by container, with
half in large ships and half in small ships.
A summary of the emission factors used is given in Table 2.
The following additional assumptions were made.
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Transport emissions are based on pre-determined routes of import combining HGV and shipping
Distances include the distance from farm or collective to shipping point and from the point of
arrival in the UK to the retailer’s distribution and packing centre.
Road distances are taken from Microsoft mapping software Live Local
Shipping distances are taken from
Table 2. Emission factors used in the study.
Transport mode
Emission factor (gCO2/tkm)
Deep sea
Short sea
UK, Home farm (SW)
UK, Midlands
France, North Vendee
Morocco (Sea)
France, Perpignan
Dominican republic
Burkina faso
South Africa
Morocco (Road)
New Zealand
Emissions (gCO2/kg imported)
Figure 3. A selection (for clarity) of source and mode-weighted emissions (gCO2/kg imported) estimated for a single farm in
each of the twenty-six countries studied. (Note although the locations are identified by country, they are specific to the farm
and supplier used by the retailer in each country and they should not necessarily be seen as representative of the whole
Interesting results are seen for some countries such as Morocco (highlighted in Figure 3) which can
appear at the higher end of the scale despite being relatively close to the UK if the produce is mainly
shipped over land (through Spain), or at the lower end if shipped by sea. In general, because of the higher
CO2 intensity of road freight in comparison to sea, it was found that sourcing from regions closest to
shipping ports (thus minimising road transport) would result in the lowest emissions.
4. Regression Analysis
Scatter plots of the emissions resultant form sourcing items from the individual farms were plotted
against the distance the produce travelled and linear regression applied (Figure 4). The results might be
considered surprising. As Figure 4 shows, there is little correlation between the distance the produce
travels and the resultant emissions and this is confirmed by estimation of the correlation coefficient (R2 =
0.3). Clearly there are two relatively independent, well-correlated, populations within the data and, as
Figure 5 shows, these correspond to situations where the majority of the distance travelled is by sea, or by
road. (The retail company considered does not import via air.)
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R2 = 0.303
05,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000
Total distance (km)
Associated CO2 emissions (gCO2/kg)
Figure 4. Scatter plot of distance vs. CO2 emissions for international sourcing routes (and all 55 farms in the study), note the
low R2 value, indicating a poor correlation.
R2 = 0.9806
R2 = 0.8189
05,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000
Total distance (km)
Associated CO2 emissions (gCO2/kg)
Figure 5. Scatter plot of distance vs. CO2 separated into routes relying predominantly on road transport and those relying
predominantly on sea.
5. Influencing Purchasing Decisions
Having shown that: (a) the concept of food miles is a poorer than expected environmental metric for this
sector, and that (b) calculating carbon emissions over the mixed mode cycle with account being made for
differences in tonnage transported by the ships and trucks involved was achievable within the database
systems of a large retailer, two attempts were made to influence purchasing behaviour, one at the level of
the customer, the other at the moment of bulk purchase by the retailer.
To achieve this, three tools and representations were developed. The first was purely pedagogicala map
of the world coloured to reflect the mixed-mode emission factor for each location that the retailer uses
(Figure 6) and used to ensure bulk buyers and customers understood the issue. In essence, this contains
the same information as Figures 3 and 4, but presented in a more usable way: one can clearly see that
distance is not the sole driver in the resultant emissions. For example, note the lower emission factor for
parts of the USA than the Eastern Mediterranean.
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Figure 6. Visual representation of the CO2 emissions associated with the import of fresh produce into the UK, some source
countries have been separated into regions to represent different locations within the country itself.
In addition to the representation shown in Figure 6, a spreadsheet was developed that applied the farm-
specific mode-weighted emission factors to the contents of each week’s eight vegetable box types (the
retailer distributes 1.5 million boxes per annum) and presented the results to bulk purchasers within the
retail company. This allowed them to examine the impact of alternative sourcing on the carbon footprint
of the different vegetable box types assembled each week. Purchasers could then make sourcing decisions
based on keeping the footprint of certain boxes below certain limits. This could be done by either
choosing to source the same product from a location with lower resultant emissions, or to make a
substitution for a different product.
The final step was to allow customers access to the estimated carbon footprint of each box each week
before purchase. They could then elect to receive whichever of the eight boxes most closely matched their
desire for specific contents and level of carbon emissions.
6. Conclusions
Data from a large UK vegetable box supplier has been used to estimate the correlation between food
miles and carbon emissions resulting from the international sourcing of produce. The correlation was
found to be very poor and it is clear that the mode of transport is as important as the distance, with
sourcing from parts of the Mediterranean resulting in emissions greater than those from the Americas.
This result led to the development of tools based on farm-specific mode-weighted emission factors that
take account of the mass of product carried by each mode and the fuel efficiency of each mode. These
tools have since been used in an ongoing attempt to influence purchasing behaviour.
We commenced this paper with the suggestion that the agro-food sustainability debate has been narrowed
and limited by the recent public and policy focus on food miles and carbon emissions. And yet the
empirical material included in this paper is devoted mainly to an examination of food miles and carbon
emissions. Our justification for this is simple; we have sought to engage with the debate on its own terms
and in so doing have highlighted the weakness of relying on a single simplistic emblem of sustainability
food miles. We do not, of course, suggest that carbon emissions are anything other than a vital factor in
the sustainability debate but we would argue that a wider approach to sustainability is, perhaps
paradoxically, more likely to give rise to coherent thinking around carbon emissions than the reduction of
the issue to the totemic one of food miles. In particular, the inclusion of economic and social dynamicas
in any promotion of sustainability is vital, such as the engagement of consumers in thinking through the
consequences of their purchasing decisions. We would argue that food miles, and indeed a number of
other beguilingly simple ideas for climate change mitigation such as carbon offsetting, have two major
drawbacks. First, as shown empirically in this paper, they can be misleading in terms of real world
processes. Secondly, they can divert attention from the far more fundamental and deep rooted social,
economic and environmental changes that are required to tackle the sustainability challenge.
Carbon emissions generated by import of fresh produce into the UK
kgCO2/tonne produce
0 to 8
8 to 49
50 to 89
90 to 149
150 to 249
250 to 349
350 to 550
No data
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1. The research on which this paper is based was undertaken as part of a KTP research project. We acknowledge
both Riverford Organics and the UK Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform for their
sponsorship of this research.
... Second, studies on the FMs of apples still need to be completed. For example, the previous study on the FMs of apple could have been more indepth [14]. The study on the consumers' willingness to pay for wine and apple fruit found a low demand for distantly transported commodities [5]. ...
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This study examines the indirect and direct factors affecting the preference for distant travel of apple fruit (food miles or FMs) in Indonesia, a Muslim-majority country. This research employs a quantitative consumer survey of 522 respondents in Indonesia from January to February 2023. Data were collected online (i.e. via social media), and the respondents were chosen randomly. Data were then analysed using a partial least square-structural equation model to prove the proposed hypotheses using Rstudio. This investigation has some principal findings. First, domestic interest and health-environment benefits directly affect the preference for short food miles (SFMs). Second, the halal requirements do not directly affect the choice of SFMs but indirectly affect the preference for SFMs through health-environmental benefits. In sum, the choice for SFMs is affected by domestic interest (direct), health-environmental benefits (direct), and halal requirements (indirect). This study finally has a theoretical contribution to the interplay among green supply chain, halal food supply chain, and food security.
... Since the production phase usually makes a greater contribution, shortening and relocating food chains is not usually considered an effective strategy from an environmental point of view, because the vehicles used in short chains are usually less efficient (Chiffoleau and Dourian, 2020) and because local production may also be less efficient compared to international production (Theurl et al., 2014;Sim et al., 2007;Payen et al., 2015). In fact, the concept of food miles or WASD (Weighted Average Source Distance) as a measure of locality has been dismissed as an effective indicator of food system sustainability (Weber and Matthews, 2008;Edwards-Jones et al., 2008;Coley et al., 2011), although in some cases it may be useful as a strategy to increase sustainability depending on the environmental indicator considered (Pretty et al., 2005;Rothwell et al., 2016;Michalský and Hooda, 2015). Lower negative environmental impacts from global than localized food chains have also been reported (Majewski et al., 2020;Van Hauwermeiren et al., 2007), but other studies report the opposite situation (Theurl et al., 2014;Schmitt et al., 2018;Schmitt et al., 2017). ...
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Modern food chains are energy intensive processes, which implies environmental impacts and a dependence on non-renewable resources. Nevertheless, some studies tend to underestimate the energy use of transport by assuming some simplifications in their models or by not considering aggregate levels of analysis. Tomatoes are a key agricultural commodity, and Spain is the second largest tomato producer and exporter in Europe. This paper comparatively analyses the embodied energy associated with consumption products of the tomato food chain in Spain including the products consumed in the country and those exported to third countries, taking into account energy consumption from production to household distribution. We estimate the fluxes of raw materials and products of the whole chain combining official databases and business reports to reconstruct the location and interconnection between international, national and provincial nodes of production, processing and consumption. On the one hand, agrarian specialization concentrates production in provinces with greenhouse off-season production, which contributes significantly to the overall energy requirement. In addition, manufactured products have a high level of embodied energy, particularly in Spain’s product consumption mix, which is the key factor in the chain, both in exports and in national food consumption. On the other hand, provincial productive and export specialisation determines the existence of decoupling between agricultural, manufacturing and exporting clusters throughout the chain, significantly increasing energy use per unit consumed or exported by implying recirculation transport flows between provinces, which is particularly evident in exporting provinces supplying European countries. This process is neglected in previous LCA studies, leading to an underestimation of the energy cost. As a general conclusion, recirculation due to geographical specialization of different stages of the food chain has been shown to be a major contributor to energy use in he Spanish tomato chain and should be further studied in food chains of other products and countries. Additionally, approaches to lower food system energy use should not only focus on specific measures on separated phases of the food chain, but on reconfiguring its territorial organization and its modes of production and processing.
... La excepción es un aluvión de planes de huella de carbono de productos, centrados principalmente en los productos alimentarios, que se lanzaron a principios de la década de 2010. Encabezadas en su mayoría por minoristas, estas iniciativas perdieron impulso rápidamente al hacerse evidente que los consumidores no estaban muy influidos por ellas, y que era técnicamente difícil determinar con precisión el carbono incorporado en productos específicos(Coley et al., 2011;Kemp et al., 2010). ...
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Existe una creciente preocupación por el carbono incorporado en los bienes importados. Una manifestación de esa preocupación es la promulgación por parte de grandes economías como EE.UU. y la Unión Europea de medidas comerciales relacionadas con el clima, incluido el ajuste en frontera por carbono. Este documento examina más de diez medidas comerciales relacionadas con el clima que se están promulgando o debatiendo actualmente en todo el mundo y cinco iniciativas de grandes empresas para abastecerse de insumos con bajas emisiones de carbono. A continuación, evalúa la vulnerabilidad de Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador y Perú a las restricciones comerciales, basándose en la intensidad estimada de gases de efecto invernadero de sus productos exportados (mediante un análisis de insumo-producto) en relación con otros productores mundiales, y en un análisis de exposición que evalúa la probabilidad de que los actuales importadores de estos productos apliquen medidas comerciales relacionadas con el clima. Por último, revisa los escenarios existentes de la demanda mundial de petróleo, gas natural y carbón, y se indaga sobre su impacto en las exportaciones de combustibles fósiles de estos países. Los productos agrícolas destacan por su vulnerabilidad, ya que son el principal motor de deforestación y las emisiones asociadas a ésta. La amenaza más grave está en el comercio de combustibles fósiles, principalmente petróleo crudo y gas, que dominan las exportaciones actuales de los cuatro países. El documento expone recomendaciones para diversificar la economía fuera de los combustibles fósiles, y preparar a los exportadores para cumplir con las restricciones comerciales emergentes relacionadas con el clima
... Therefore [25], concluded that it is insufficient to urge consumers to buy food by considering the food mile information provided. Furthermore [26], as well emphasized the importance of transport and pointed out that the food mile is an important factor for CF and emission. According to Ref. [27], transportation is the biggest contributor to global warming in the United States (U.S.) and most of the developed countries. ...
In light of the SDG goals, carbon emissions from different food and food-related products have been under serious scrutiny in recent years. Despite the increasing awareness of global warming and the carbon footprint issue, food culture in different societies is difficult to change. Food production and storage are related to food security. The assessment of food-related carbon footprint should be linked with the chain of food lines rather than food items per se. It is obvious that much of the carbon emission is contributed by the production of it, packaging, storage, transportation, modification, quality control, and other related logistics. Therefore, this research investigated the correlation between food consumption and carbon footprint in the two types of diets and different populated regions. A systematic literature review combined with a bibliometric analysis approach was taken to construct the discussion. It studied the sources of carbon footprint and the life cycle of daily diet consumption and compared the carbon footprint of animal and plant-based diets. An evaluation of carbon footprint from various dietary patterns in India, China, and Italy was qualitatively carried out based on the published data in different scientific databases, and quantified values were discussed. Animal-based protein diets, especially meat, were found to have a higher contribution of carbon footprint; rice, however, contributes the highest among the plant-based diets. The bibliometric analysis pointed to the academic engagement on food-related carbon footprint issues across the globe and the scope of improvement. This review will help researchers to construct a thematic framework, and policymakers reorient the policy implementation.
Purpose The customers are demanding the products which are not only healthy but also clean and environment friendly i.e. call for sustainable consumption products. Therefore, this study aims to identify the important drivers of organic food purchase intention. Design/methodology/approach A cross-sectional research design involving the collection of primary data from 234 respondents was adopted in this study. Responses were gathered from the consumers of organic food representative of the Indian population. Structural equation modelling was applied to analyze data and validate the research model. Findings The findings of the study would help practitioners understand the factors leading to the purchase intention of organic food products in a growing consumer market. This knowledge would help them devise marketing and communication strategies to increase the consumption of organic food products. Originality/value The present study advances existing literature on organic food consumption by extending the theory of planned behaviour with factors, namely, environmental concern, convenience and trust, and establishing their role in developing the purchase intention for organic food products.
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INTRODUÇÃO: O impacte ambiental da produção agrícola de tomate tem vindo a ser cada vez mais estudado, considerando-se que existe uma influência da localização geográfica da sua produção e do seu consumo. OBJETIVOS: Quantificar e comparar o impacto ambiental do tomate a nível de produção local versus global, com recurso a case studies, e simular o correspondente ao Potencial de Aquecimento Global (100 anos), em kg CO2 eq, da produção de tomate em Portugal versus o correspondente ao importado de Espanha, Itália e Holanda. METODOLOGIA: De abril a maio 2022 recorreu-se à Scopus, para incluir os artigos desta revisão narrativa. Incluíram-se termos como “avaliação do ciclo de vida”, “tomate”, “produção”, “impacte ambiental” e “indicador de sustentabilidade”. Recorreu-se ao software SIMA PRO (versão 2022) para obter o Potencial de Aquecimento Global (100 anos), em kg CO2 eq, relativo à produção de tomate em Espanha, Itália e Holanda. Procurou-se a mesma informação na literatura para Portugal. RESULTADOS: Incluíram-se 5 artigos transversais realizados em Espanha, França, Suécia e Áustria. Consideraram-se os seguintes indicadores de sustentabilidade: Emissão de Gases de Efeito Estufa, Potencial de Aquecimento Global, Privação de Água e Destruição da Camada do Ozono. Não é possível afirmar que a produção local do tomate tem um menor impacte ambiental que a sua produção global (importação), dependendo este impacto de fatores como o tipo de produção e do indicador de sustentabilidade utilizado. Quanto à simulação efetuada, espera-se que produzir tomate em Portugal tenha um menor Potencial de Aquecimento Global (100 anos) do que importar de Espanha, Holanda ou Itália (0,035-0,080); kg CO2 eq versus 0,84, 2,12 e 1,56 kg CO2 eq, respetivamente). CONCLUSÕES: O impacte ambiental da produção local do tomate nem sempre é menor do que o da sua produção global. Recomenda-se a realização de mais estudos em Portugal para determinar o impacte ambiental da produção deste alimento para ser possível, mais robustamente, fazer comparações com outros países.
More sustainable food choices are part of a complex system that combines practices, which themselves are interconnected in a network of elements made up of competences, meanings and material devices. This article proposes an innovative method for studying this system through a non-deductive quantitative approach. The research adds to the corpus of the ‘theory of practices’ by defining the concepts of ‘central’ practices (i.e. connected to many elements of the system, such as the practice of buying and cooking sustainable products in the sustainable food system) and ‘peripheral’ practices (i.e. connected in a lesser extent to other elements of the system, such as the practices of anti-waste, growing your own food and the consumption of plant proteins). It also highlights the ‘connector’ role between the practices of certain elements. Finally, based on the current structure of the system of sustainable food practices, the article makes several propositions for speeding up change.
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A survey of consumers at three farmers' markets (FMs) was done near Vancouver, British Columbia. The markets span urban and suburb locales, and the survey's 234 respondents were asked questions about shopping behavior, attitudes toward FMs, and demographic information. The focus of the analysis is on the differences between regulars and non-regulars to the market, where a regular is considered a shopper who shops weekly or bi-weekly. The results show that regulars spend more ($46.36 vs. 33.19 for non-regulars), are much more likely to expect higher prices compared to grocery stores than non-regulars, and buy more products (4.15 vs. 3.1). Regulars also value attributes of FMs differently: they value variety, organic products, and being locally-grown more highly. Organic purchasing behavior is also significantly different with regulars much more likely to say they “always” or “usually” buy organic products. As this is the first study to explicitly analyze regulars at FMs, suggested research directions and methods are offered to help guide future research.
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This research was funded by the Flemish Government, Department of Sustainable Agricultural Development. The authors express their gratitude to the Interprovincial Research Centre for Organic Farming (PCBT) and the Provincial Research and Advisory Centre for Agriculture and Horticulture (POVLT) for providing the necessary data. They are also grateful to Dr Frank Brentrup, Dr Mark Huijbregts and Morten Birkved for their valuable contribution to the project and to two anonymous reviewers from the British Food Journal for their valuable comments. Corrigendum: It has come to our attention that “Assessing the ecological soundness of organic and conventional agriculture by means of life cycle assessment (LCA): a case study of leek production”, published in British Food Journal, Vol. 111 No. 10, 2009, did not fully attribute one of the sources drawn upon. This was: Schau, E.M. and Fet, A.M. (2008), “Studies of food products as background for environmental product declarations”, International Journal of LCA, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 255‐64. This occurred through both an author and Publisher error. The authors and the Publisher sincerely apologise for this. The reference has now been added to the electronic version of the article.
While it is useful to qualify the embeddedness of alternative food networks with relation to marketness and instrumentalism, the evidence of strong inter-personal ties within transactions conducted by small food producers and their customers requires better conceptualization. Following Offer (Econ. Hist. Rev. L 3 (1997) 450) and Lee (Geoforum 31 (2000) 137) this paper uses the notion of relations of regard to illustrate the benefits to both parties arising from their interaction that go well beyond narrowly financial evaluations. The term “good food” is deployed for its capacity to convey the multiple attributes of products as well as to capture a heterogeneous set of actors broadly sharing a common set of values around food. Drawing upon interviews with producers and other key individuals within the region, the paper describes some of the issues affecting the organic farming and food artisan sectors, as well as their respective use of different food supply chains. The growth of face-to-face transactions has stimulated the development of markets in the region, which are considered for their status as oppositional sites to the mainstream food industry. Finally, the source of strong moral values that permeates the network is considered in relation to an important food personality.
“Local food” is attracting considerable policy and public interest, but evidence is lacking about the emerging contours of the local food sector. This paper offers a preliminary assessment of the local food sector in the county of Gloucestershire. Based on interviews with farmers and retailers, it investigates the scope of local food production in the county, assesses the nature of the local food chain and considers the potential of local food production and marketing for adding value for the various actors in the chain, from producer to retailer. Questions are raised in the conclusion about the coherence and sustainability of the local food sector in the county given the differences in the ways in which producers and retailers construct “local” and some unintended consequences of the efforts to promote local food.
A computer-based decision support system is described which aims to encourage and enhance sound environmental management within agriculture. Part of the system focuses on the management of pesticides on the farm, and can help to ensure that the farmer adopts practices which maximize crop production and profitability without jeopardizing the environment. The approach taken looks at all aspects of farm pesticide use including crop applications, storage and waste disposal and the use of non-crop pesticides.As a whole, the system can act as a informal environmental management system. An ecorating is derived by comparing actual farm practices with what is perceived to be best practice for the site, to provide a measure of environmental performance. The first time the method is used, these indices act as benchmarks against which the success of future improvements can be judged.The system has three modes of operation. An “assessment mode” seeks to identify strengths and weakness in practices and regulatory compliance and to provide guidance on areas where improvements could be made. In support of this, a second mode known as the “technical system” allows the user to explore “what–if” scenarios in order to identify site-specific best practice and aims to provide answers to the issues raised in the assessement mode. The third mode is a fully integrated hypertext information system containing a range of context-sensitively mapped text on agriculture and the environment which can be used on a stand-alone basis or accessed from any part of the software system.
Potential new telecommunications technologies and services could have dramatic impacts on travel behavior. But the probable nature and magnitude of these impacts is uncertain. The usual assumption (or hope) is that such technologies will substitute for travel, allowing people to participate in activities at home that would have otherwise involved a trip. But telecommunications technologies may lead to other types of impacts as well, by increasing access to information and ease of communication: modification of travel, generation of additional travel, or generation of additional communication with no change in travel. This study focuses on the implications of telecommunications for nonwork travel and explores the potential substitution of in-home versions of an activity for out-of-home versions of that activity. Three specific activities were selected, and the sets of potentially substitutable versions of those activities that are currently available were examined: movies (theater vs. VCR vs. television), shopping (store vs. catalog vs. television), and banking (bank vs. ATM vs. phone vs. on-line). A household survey was implemented to characterize the use of the different versions of the three case study activities and explore the trade-offs between them. The results suggest a complicated relationship between in-home and out-of-home versions of activities. The degree to which inhome versions substitute for out-of-home versions of an activity depends on the nature of the activity and the characteristics of the individuals. In addition, the travel implications are not always clear. So far the evidence does not point to a reduction in travel.